Human pluripotent stem cell-derived cardiomyocytes (hPSC-CMs) allow investigations in a human cardiac model system, but disorganized mechanics and immaturity of hPSC-CMs on standard two-dimensional surfaces have been hurdles. Here, we developed a platform of micron-scale cardiac muscle bundles to control biomechanics in arrays of thousands of purified, independently contracting cardiac muscle strips on two-dimensional elastomer substrates with far greater throughput than single cell methods. By defining geometry and workload in this reductionist platform, we show that myofibrillar alignment and auxotonic contractions at physiologic workload drive maturation of contractile function, calcium handling, and electrophysiology. Using transcriptomics, reporter hPSC-CMs, and quantitative immunofluorescence, these cardiac muscle bundles can be used to parse orthogonal cues in early development, including contractile force, calcium load, and metabolic signals. Additionally, the resultant organized biomechanics facilitates automated extraction of contractile kinetics from brightfield microscopy imaging, increasing the accessibility, reproducibility, and throughput of pharmacologic testing and cardiomyopathy disease modeling.
The ability to differentiate human pluripotent stem cells (hPSCs) into cardiomyocytes (CMs) makes them an attractive source for repairing injured myocardium, disease modeling, and drug testing. Although current differentiation protocols yield hPSC-CMs to >90% efficiency, hPSC-CMs exhibit immature characteristics. With the goal of overcoming this limitation, we tested the effects of varying passive stretch on engineered heart muscle (EHM) structural and functional maturation, guided by computational modeling. Human embryonic stem cells (hESCs, H7 line) or human induced pluripotent stem cells (IMR-90 line) were differentiated to hPSC-derived cardiomyocytes (hPSC-CMs) in vitro using a small molecule based protocol. hPSC-CMs were characterized by troponin+ flow cytometry as well as electrophysiological measurements. Afterwards, 1.2 × 106 hPSC-CMs were mixed with 0.4 × 106 human fibroblasts (IMR-90 line) (3:1 ratio) and type-I collagen. The blend was cast into custom-made 12-mm long polydimethylsiloxane reservoirs to vary nominal passive stretch of EHMs to 5, 7, or 9 mm. EHM characteristics were monitored for up to 50 days, with EHMs having a passive stretch of 7 mm giving the most consistent formation. Based on our initial macroscopic observations of EHM formation, we created a computational model that predicts the stress distribution throughout EHMs, which is a function more »
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- Publication Date:
- NSF-PAR ID:
- Journal Name:
- Stem Cells
- Page Range or eLocation-ID:
- p. 265-277
- Oxford University Press
- Sponsoring Org:
- National Science Foundation
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Physiologic biomechanics enhance reproducible contractile development in a stem cell derived cardiac muscle platform
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